I am flying back to the US as I type this. Obviously I will have to wait to publish it when I get home, but I thought I would write these thoughts down while they are still fresh. I have been writing a little about my trip to Europe, but the trip has been very busy and I have gotten behind. So, I will go back in time a few days to catch up.
One of the reasons for this trip was to attend the Friedrichshafen Ham Fair. I was attending the convention for the first time and I was not disappointed. The Ham Fair has a large hall of vendors with all the major radio brands and the latest gadgets, a nice stream of lectures on a wide variety of topics, a nice flea market full of classic gear and hard to find items. But best of all the the opporunity to renew acquiantances with old friends get acquainted with new friends.
I was able to make acquiantances with some SOTA guys from across the pond. In the picture above from the left, HB9DOT, HB9CST, MM0FMF (Andy from the SOTA MT) , and myself. A tradition at Friedrichshafen is for the SOTA guys to meet at the QSL card wall at 12:00 noon on Saturday.
One of the Flea Market Halls
A few things about the convention were notable. First of all, most of the national societies from Europe have booths there. Only a few had meaningful displays, but they all flew there flags proudly. Additionally , in the flea market, there was an abundance of surplus WW II vintage radio gear. When you think about it, it makes sense. Only a small percentage of the gear used in the war made it's way back to the U.S. There were some very interesting pieces of equipment. You could have purchased a completely restored Enigma machine for 33,000 pounds sterling . The Enigma was a device that was used by the Germans during the war to code messages. There was a huge effort by the Allies to figure out how to decipher these coded messages. There is a museum commemorated that effort at Bletchley Park in England.
The Enigma Machine
An Interesting Piece of Military Radio Gear
Lastly, the surrounding area around Friedrichshafen is beautiful. The town sits on the shores of Lake Constance. You can set on the shores of the lake and see the mountains of Switzerland and Austria.
For the American visitor to Friedrichshafen, you can feel comfortable that there is enough English spoken to get by on most things. However, it is wise to study a little basic German, expecially if you will rent a car, to understand traffice signs and to figure out menus. That said, it is not a big problem. The program of lectures will let you now what language the sessions are in, so you don't have to wonder if you can understand the presentations,
It is a very worthwhile trip for many reasons. I wiould highly recommend it.